College football isn’t just a sport, it’s a business. With that said, it’s easy to assume the top performers earn the most money from merchandise sales. But it’s not that simple, as you’ll soon discover.
The major college football bowl games are approaching and the matchups have been announced by ESPN. Let’s take a look at which of these teams sells the most college football merchandise and which teams could use a big win to score additional sales.
Alabama Crimson Tide Merchandise
The University of Alabama football team is pursuing its fourth national championship in the last six years, so it should come as no surprise that it sells a lot of Alabama Crimson Tide merchandise. Ranked No. 1 as of this writing, the Crimson Tide sold the most merchandise between July 1 and Sept. 30, 2014 of any team among the Collegiate Licensing Company’s (CLC) clients, which include most major schools. Alabama will face Ohio State in the Allstate Sugar Bowl on Jan. 1, 2015.
Baylor Bears Merchandise
Baylor University is currently ranked fifth in the nation and projected to play in one of the semifinals to determine the national championship matchup. But, while there doesn’t appear to be any data available on how much Baylor Bears merchandise revenue it brings in, the school did rank last in the Big 12 in football revenue as recently as 2011.
This could be due, in part, to the school’s relatively modest enrollment of roughly 13,300 students. For comparison, Alabama has nearly triple the number of students at more than 36,000 and Wisconsin (also on this list) has even more at nearly 43,200.
While someone doesn’t have to attend a school to be a fan of its team, fewer current students and fewer alumni likely result in fewer overall fans and merchandise sales. Baylor will be facing off Michigan State in the Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic on Jan. 1.
Boise State Broncos Merchandise
Despite the team’s success, Boise State Broncos Merchandise was barely within the top 50 on CLC’s annual list, coming in at No. 49. It ranked a bit higher during the 2013-2014 season at No. 42.
Like Baylor and Georgia Tech, Boise State’s enrollment (about 19,000 students) is significantly lower than some of the higher-ranked schools on this list, which could be one explanation for its relatively low ranking. Boise State will be playing against the University of Arizona on Dec. 31, 2014 in the Vizio Fiesta Bowl.
Florida State Seminoles Merchandise
As of this writing, Florida State is undefeated this season. As such, Florida State Seminoles merchandise is ranked No. 14 in merchandise sales for the CLC might seem a bit low, albeit still impressive.
A possible reason it doesn’t crack the top 10 might be because it’s not the most popular team in the Sunshine State. That title goes to the Florida Gators, who ranked seven spots higher in merchandise sales at seventh overall. Florida State will be looking to maintain its undefeated season against the University of Oregon in the Rose Bowl, which will occur on New Year’s Day.
Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets Merchandise
Whether Georgia Tech’s impressive season generates more Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets merchandise sales remains to be seen. However, it ranked No. 51 in CLC sales this season, falling one spot from last year’s ranking.
Like some of the other lower-ranked schools on this list, its modest enrollment of roughly 14,600 students could be a factor. The Yellow Jackets are also not the most popular team in the Peach State, as that title goes to the Georgia Bulldogs. Additionally, due to its location, the team has to compete for attention with the NFL’s Atlanta Falcons.
Georgia Tech will face Mississippi State in the Capital One Organ Bowl on Dec. 31.
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Michigan State Spartans Merchandise
Despite winning the Rose Bowl last season and having a strong regular season this year, Michigan State isn’t even the top seller in Michigan — the University of Michigan Wolverines are. But the program ranked No. 17 in the nation last year in revenue, according to USA Today, suggesting Michigan State Spartans merchandise sales are still higher than those of many other teams.
Oregon Ducks Merchandise
There doesn’t appear to be any data available regarding University of Oregon’s merchandise sales. However, it looks like winning most of its games over the last decade has paid off.
The Ducks ranked No. 9 in overall revenue in 2013, according to The Register-Guard, most likely due to it being the most popular college football team in the Beaver State, as illustrated by CBSSports.com. This suggests its Oregon Ducks merchandise sales likely aren’t too shabby.
Wisconsin Badgers Merchandise
The University of Wisconsin’s large enrollment could be a reason it ranks relatively high in merchandise sales. Among CLC’s customers, it ranked No. 13 this year and clinched the No. 15 spot last year. It appears the team has a substantial fan base that keeps its Wisconsin Badgers merchandise sales high.
The Badgers will be facing off against Auburn in the Outback Bowl on Jan. 1.
Which Team Boasts the Highest College Football Merchandise Sales?
Alabama appears to be the best college football merchandise seller among the elite teams this season. Given the team’s success, this isn’t a surprise. If the Alabama Crimson Tide roll onto another championship victory, sales will likely remain strong for the foreseeable future.
Photo credit: Derek Weidl